Frequently Asked Questions

How is a STM Online: Crossroads course conducted?
The experience takes place entirely online. It is asynchronous, i.e., there are no requirements to appear online at a certain time. You will have access to the course web site 24 hours a day/7 days a week during the dates the course is open.

Once you have access to the web site, you may explore the site intuitively or use the Orientation module to help you learn to navigate the site.  You will be assigned to a "Community for Conversation," an online discussion group of up to 25 persons. It is our expectation that a group this size will create a lively but manageable conversation.  Each Community will have its own facilitator to guide discussion. In addition, all participants will have access to a general discussion forum called "Town Meeting."

Each week of the course we will read and discuss a common assignment.  The weekly readings may be available on the web site or you may be asked to purchase or obtain additional reading material. A schedule, which will be available at the beginning of the course, will list the weekly reading and provide links to any media such as a video that may be assigned that week. Every week (usually Wednesday) we will open a new forum for your Community for Conversation. There will always be a Notebook section that will pose focus on questions for discussion for each week.  We will dialogue about the week's material with the other participants in our Community for Conversation.

Will I need to buy any special materials?
Depending on the course, you may be asked to purchase a book that will be discussed in the course. If you need to purchase a book, you will be given the title, author, and other pertinent information. Most people use a local bookstore or their favorite online bookstore to acquire the book.

How much time will the course take each week?
We recommend that you plan on 3-4 hours a week.  This includes time to read assignments, view assigned video (as applicable), time to prepare and post your reflections and comments in the Community for Conversation, as well as the time to read the postings of others.

What are the expectations for participants?
Every week of the course, we expect you to do the readings and, when applicable, view the video.  We hope you use the week for reflection on the topic presented, and we expect you to discuss the focus questions with other participants in your Community for Conversation by posting your thoughts on one or more of the questions and responding to theirs. The heart of the course is in the discussion with the other participants.

We expect that each participant will respond with respect to others in their Community for Conversation. What each participant shares in the conversation will be kept within the group. We expect that you will not copy and forward another person's posts without their permission.

A complete list of expectations will be included in the course notes for the first week.

When will I receive my Certificate of Active Participation?  Each active participant will receive a certificate of completion.  "Active participation" is defined as posting three messages of substance for each week a course is in session.  Your certificate will automatically be sent to you via U.S. mail within a month after the course site has closed.  If a month has elapsed and you have not received a certificate, please send an inquiry to the Crossroads staff at  Inquiries about certificates need to be made within two months of completion of the course. 

What are the minimum computer requirements in order to access the web site?
Check out specifics here.
If you have any questions, contact

Is there a suggested web browser that I should use for Crossroads courses?
We recommend that participants use Internet Explorer for our courses, but any major browser should be compatible with our courses.

Canvas supports the latest two versions of every browser release. We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using as well as the most up-to-date Flash plug-in.

In order to install a new browser or update your current browser, please click the name of the browser below and follow the instructions provided on the respective website.

Do I need any special software?
No, you do not need any special software.  The website is designed on WebCT which is accessible through the browser that you use for Internet access.  Check the above question for specifics about the browser.

Is it possible to earn Continuing Education Units (CEU) or Professional Development Hours (PDH) for a Crossroads course?
Crossroads does not give CEU or PDH units.  We do offer a Certificate of Active Participation for those who post at least three messages of substance each week. On that certificate we state the number of contact hours that each course has involved.

What is Canvas?
Canvas is a cloud-based learning management system used to create and host educational web sites.  The Crossroads program uses this software for its courses.  Our Canvas FAQ pageanswers a number of questions pertaining to a participant's experience within Canvas.

When can I register for a course?
Course registration closes on Friday at 3p.m. the week before the course site opens. Registration may close earlier if the course has been filled to capacity. Otherwise, you can register at any time.

Can I receive a refund if I don't complete the course? 
A full refund for the course will be given if notification of withdrawal from the course is received  by the Friday after the course opens.  To give notification of withdrawal, email